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The grand jewel of winter time has got to be the orange so Orange Jam is a great way to celebrate the season. Any citrus really, but especially these little beauties, the clementine. Today I made a batch of Orange Jam. The color alone makes me smile. It will drive the winter blues straight out of your kitchen. Your entire house will smell wonderful and the extra vitamin C at this time of year can NOT hurt.
I prefer jam to Paddington Bear’s favorite – Marmalade – because, when you use the rind of the fruit, there is an element of bitterness. With jam the sweet fruit is the star of the show. We like it on toasted brioche, croissants, broiled fish, grilled chicken, scones, cheese and crackers, baked brie, cake, French toast, ice cream, yogurt, and in crêpes. Add a dollop to yogurt or oatmeal. Use it to prepare a glaze for grilled meats. Shake it into your favorite cocktail. Here’s my favorite orange cocktail recipe. Or eat it straight off a spoon.
This Jam can be made with any variety of tangerine. I like satsumas! They hit peak season this month. I think there should be a parade or at least a celebration. Good thing the folks at Heinen’s and I think alike. You don’t want to miss Heinen’s Zest Fest celebration!
These sweet treats are of the mandarin orange family, which also includes tangerines and clementines. Satsumas are one of the sweetest citrus varieties available. When I was a little girl I lived in Florida and picked these right off the trees in our yard. These days, in the midwest, under a blanket of snow, I’m missing my origins in the Sunshine State.
Winter Orange Jam
- 3 pounds clementines
- 1 cup sugar
- juice of 2 lemons
- Peel the clementines and cut each one in half through the middle to check for seeds.
- Put the fruit, in batches if necessary, in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.
- Pour the puree into a heavy pot and add the sugar and lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat a bit and boil for about 30-40 minutes, stirring fairly often. Do not cover the pot!
- The liquid will foam up at first, but will eventually get absorbed. The mixture will start to thicken and get a little deeper and glossier when it is ready. I like to freeze a small plate and test the jam by dropping some onto it and letting it cool. If the jam firms up, it’s done. If not, keep boiling a little longer.
- When it is done, ladle it into clean jars and let cool on the counter. When it reaches room temperature, cover and refrigerate. It will keep at least 10 days in the fridge.
Your jam will only be as good as your fruit. We’ve all had those clementines that don’t measure up, so skip those and try to find fruit with great juicy flavor. It shouldn’t be too hard. Tangerines are in season right now.
I didn’t use pectin, but if you want a super firm jam, you can use some Low Sugar Pectin such as Sure Jell brand.
The longer you cook the jam, the thicker it will be when it cools. I like to test by putting a small plate in the freezer and then dropping a bit on the cold plate. If the jam jells when it cools, it’s done. And YES I thought about licking the plate. I might have…
Here’s a tip – I hate juicing lemons (or any fruit) by hand. My hands hurt from a lifetime of rugged use. This time I peeled the lemons and threw them into the blender and liquefied them. Then I simply poured the juice and pulp through a fine mesh strainer and voila – juice of two lemons! Yes, I could go buy an expensive juicer but I already have a decent blender that will do the job.